Benjamin Brown

From the list of elephant persons Family: Brown

Benjamin Brown
Profession circus director
Personal details
Born 1799-01-11 Somers, Westchester, New York in United States
Dead 1880-09-25 Carmel, Putnam, New York in United States

Spouse(s) Mary Cops

Country United States

Title animal trainer 1840
Location at Van Amburg Circus in United States

Title owner 1826
Location at Royal Pavilion Circus in United States

Title owner 1823-
Location at Bailey Circus in United States

Title owner
Location at Benjamin Brown’s Circus in United States

Biography details

Benjamin Franklin Brown , circus director in United States

Born 1799-01-11 in United States dead 1880-09-25 in United States , son of other Isaac Brown and Amy Brown .

The brothers Benjamin Brown, Christopher Brown and Herschel Brown, cousins to J. Purdy Brown, were involved with the menagerie business in the early 1820's. Benjamin Brown (1799-1881) worked for Hachaliah Bailey in the exhibition of Little Bet in 1823. He was employed by J.Purdy Brown and Lewis Bailey in 1825, the season that the first canvas tent was introduced. In 1826 Benjamin and Hershel operated the Royal Pavilion Circus, (pavilion - being a euphemism of the time for the canvas tent). Benjamin, Christopher and Hershel operated a circus for their cousin, J. Purdy Brown, in 1828. Brown's company was in South Carolina performing when Charles Wright, another Somers native famed as a lion tamer, came into town with his menagerie troupe. The two companies appeared together, and as it seemed to be successful, they performed the rest of the season together becoming the first traveling combination of a menagerie and circus.

Benjamin Brown and many others traveled extensively exhibiting their animals, ranging as far as the West Indies and South America. Benjamin also traveled as an animal buyer for June, Titus &
Angevine, from nearby North Salem, the largest menagerie company of the period. In 1838 Benjamin traveled to the Great Kalahari Desert in Africa with Stebbins June, to purchase giraffes.

In the fall of 1840 Brown took the giraffes to England with the Van Amburgh Menagerie where he met and married Mary Cops, the daughter of Alfred Cops, the Keeper of the Royal Menagerie at the Tower of London. He resided with the Cops family in the Tower until 1844, the only American known to have done so.

Benjamin Brown the “confidential agent” of a New York menagerie firm was charged with “importing into the United States as many giraffes as can be procured.” Benjamin F. Brown (1799-1880) of Somers, New York, met that challenge and many others in his career during the circus industry’s early years in the United States

Brown’s intriguing career and its captivating stories are on display at the University of Michigan’s William L. Clements Library in “Benjamin F. Brown and the Circus in America.”

Records about Benjamin Brown from A History of the Traveling Menagerie at
Finch, in 1819 was exhibiting a caged African lion in Ohio and it would appear that it was the animal from the William. In 1820, Finch traveled with the lion and Hachaliah Bailey’s elephant Betty, the second of the name Benjamin Brown, an old showman, said in an 1879 interview that “Hachaliah Bailey and Ed Finch had an elephant and lion, which they used to show through the country.” Brown’s brother, Christopher, was in charge of the exhibition. The combination was on tour at least through 1822.

Stuart Thayer, A History of the Traveling Menagerie

The Benjamin Brown collection is made up of correspondence, documents, and artifacts related to the showman's career as a circus owner in the early 1800s. Many of the letters relate to his journey to Egypt between 1838 and 1840, as he attempted to procure giraffes for an American menagerie company; to his other travels; and to the contemporary American circus industry.
Benjamin Brown Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Siblings through the father Isaac Brown (1772-03-31 -- 1842-04-24):

  1. Christopher Brown Born ? Dead: † ?
  2. Herschel Brown Born 1803 Dead: † 1846-04-12

Benjamin Brown s ancestral Ahnentafel:


Benjamin Brown
Born: 1799-01-11

Isaac Brown

Born: 1772-03-31

Paternal Grandfather:
Christopher Brown

Born: 1736
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Hackaliah Brown
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Anna Kniffen
Paternal Grandmother:
Lucy Gregory

Born: ca 1744
Paternal Great-grandfather::
Paternal Great-grandmother:

Amy Johnson

Born: 1775-03-16

Maternal Grandfather:

Maternal Great-grandfather:
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Maternal Grandmother:

Maternal Great-grandfather:
Maternal Great-grandmother:

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). director Benjamin Franklin Brown in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 16 June 2024 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Selected publications

Links about Benjamin Brown

Search more with Google for Benjamin Brown The link will automatically include Benjamin Brown and open a new browser window.

Search more on the Internet Web for Benjamin Brown The link will automatically include Benjamin Brown and open a new browser window

Categories director | circus | Bailey Circus | Brown family | Born 1799 | Dead 1880 | People from United States

About this documentThis document was updated: 2022-04-12 07:41:25. with valid HTML5 Valid CSS

Elephant Encyclopedia and database

Established 1995
Established 2006
Your ip:
Kulen Elephant Forest